Essay Gender Roles in Children's Literature

1876 Words Feb 18th, 2011 8 Pages
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|Gender Roles in Children’s Literature |
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|Kate Moore |
|11/22/2010 |

“Everything we read constructs us, makes us who we are, by presenting our image of ourselves as girls and women, as boys and men” – M. Fox

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The way, in which gender roles are portrayed in children’s literature, significantly contributes to the development of children’s gender roles and how they are perceived by society.

It is important to teach children about gender roles since it is something that society holds in regards, but most of the time in literature it is done unequally. The portrayal of gender in literature is based off of the expectations of society and places bias on gender. Boys are portrayed as strong, adventurous, independent and capable and often play the roles of fighters, adventurers and rescuers. Girls are portrayed as sweet, naïve, dependent, sensitive and emotional and play roles such as caretakers, princesses and mothers. The roles of gender portrayed in literature are often a reflection of the views of society and do not offer objective insight. Even though it is important to teach children about gender roles, the fashion in which it is done in does not allow children to see beyond those expectations. If a young girl is constantly read stories about a woman’s role as a housewife, homemaker and mother, she will assume that’s what is expected of her and will not know society will allow her to be anything she wants to be.

Gender roles in children’s literature are linked to gender stereotypes. Gender stereotypes have always been a part of society and are seen in almost every aspect…